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Commission approves clearing future farm center land

The Chilton County Commission approved to allow the Chilton County Industrial Development Authority to start the bid process to cut trees consisting within a 60 to 80-acre area at the site of the eventual ALFA Farm Center.

The Commission approved the resolution during its meeting on Dec. 8. The IDA will flag off the area that needs to be cut based off of ALFA’s latest rendering.

According to IDA Executive Director Whitney Barlow, the area behind the Exit 212 northbound rest area will be the primary focus.

Commission Chairman Joseph Parnell explained to his fellow commissioners that there is a species of migratory bat that root under the bark of a specific type of oak tree that resides on the property.

“We’re one of their migratory stopping spots, but not their natural habitat,” Barlow said.

Barlow stated that the trees can only be cut down between Oct. 1 and March 31, because those are the months when the bats do not visit the area.

If the entire marked-off area is not cleared by March 31, Barlow said that dirt can still be moved and buildings constructed on the portion that has been cut. The remainder would have to be cleared once October rolls back around.

Because of this, Barlow stressed the importance of getting the Commission’s approval and getting the process going so that they can clear as much as possible before the end of March.

“We don’t want to find ourselves in the summer months and not be able to do what we want to do,” Barlow said.

Parnell asked that a penalty be placed in the project’s contract if the designated area was not fully cut by the March 31 deadline.